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Feast of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (C)

Second chances and eternal life
By Rev Nigel Thomas
LUKE 23:35–43

“‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied, ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’”

The words spoken by Jesus to Dismas, the Penitent Thief, who came to acknowledge his sins and asked for forgiveness from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Dismas’ acknowledgement and his subsequent confession and reconciliation with God is a reminder to us of the magnitude of God’s love for us. Once there is life, there is hope, and the opportunity to have eternal life is always present – once we decide to seize it.

This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, and this celebration reminds us of the type of kingdom to which we belong. It is not a kingdom where our leader lives in grandeur and pays no mind to the state of his subjects. The Kingdom that we belong to has a King who is willing to lay down His life for us so that we too can come into His courts to celebrate with Him and His Father for eternity.

This is what Dismas won for himself when he said, “remember me when you come into your kingdom”.

What would have made Dismas think that he had a chance of being with Christ when He came into His Kingdom? It is all based on one word – faith.

Jesus is not a typical king – He did not stand behind rows of guards or stay locked away behind castle walls, only appearing during special occasions. No, Jesus walked among the people, comforting, healing, forgiving. He made sure that His subjects felt that human connection and that no one was beyond forgiveness. Jesus did not judge.

I am quite sure Dismas heard about all that Jesus did, and took a chance, believing that at his point of death, Jesus would bring him comfort, healing, and forgiveness.

Are we like Dismas? Do we believe that Jesus, our King, our Lord, wants us to be with Him in His Kingdom, even though we think that we are not worthy of that salvation?

Or are we like Gestas, the thief to Jesus’ left, who joined with the leaders and people, being arrogant and unrepentant?

We have two examples of attitudes and behaviours from which we can pattern as we enter the season of Advent leading to Christmas, where we celebrate the Word of God, taking on human form, coming into the world to guarantee our salvation.

The first example is given to us by Dismas. A man, who during his last moments was repentant and was truly sorry for his acts of injustice against his fellow man.

The second is that of Jesus, our King, who continually calls us to be like Him – to walk among the people, bringing comfort, healing, and offering forgiveness.


Rev Nigel Thomas is a married father of three daughters and is an Information Technology Specialist by profession. He was ordained to the permanent diaconate on January 22, 2022, and serves the parish of Barataria.